Men’s Rugby Drops 91 on Albany; Women Shut Out Williams

Luke+Dauner+%E2%80%9913+is+held+up+for+a+throw-in+during+the+Blue%E2%80%99s+91-7+blowout+win+against+the+University+of+Albany.+Middlebury+remains+unbeaten+in+East+Coast+Conference+play.+%28Campus%2FSophie+Bufton%29
Back to Article
Back to Article

Men’s Rugby Drops 91 on Albany; Women Shut Out Williams

Luke Dauner ’13 is held up for a throw-in during the Blue’s 91-7 blowout win against the University of Albany. Middlebury remains unbeaten in East Coast Conference play. (Campus/Sophie Bufton)

Luke Dauner ’13 is held up for a throw-in during the Blue’s 91-7 blowout win against the University of Albany. Middlebury remains unbeaten in East Coast Conference play. (Campus/Sophie Bufton)

Luke Dauner ’13 is held up for a throw-in during the Blue’s 91-7 blowout win against the University of Albany. Middlebury remains unbeaten in East Coast Conference play. (Campus/Sophie Bufton)

Luke Dauner ’13 is held up for a throw-in during the Blue’s 91-7 blowout win against the University of Albany. Middlebury remains unbeaten in East Coast Conference play. (Campus/Sophie Bufton)

By Tom Clayton

The Middlebury Men’s Rugby Club (MCRC) emerged victorious in their match Saturday against the University of Albany, 91-7, while the Middlebury Women’s Rugby Club (MCWRC) blanked Williams on the road 39-0. Due to heavy rain over the course of the week prior to the match, the game was moved to Essex Tree Farm in Burlington when the pitch in Middlebury was deemed unplayable. This change of pitch did not disrupt the Panthers, who, after winning their match by a commanding score, to remain undefeated with a record of 4-0.

“In five years of coaching the team I have never seen us play so well for 80 minutes,” said coach John Phillips. We had a really good week of practice and it all came together on Saturday.”

The dominating performance attests to teamwork and depth, as over the course of the match MCRC notched 13 tries from 10 different players.

“We have a starting squad of 24 players, so any of these players can come on at any time and fit right in,” said Phillips.

Highlights of the game include a 31 point performance from Middlebury captain Brian Sirkia ’12.5, who finished the match with 1 try, 10 conversions, and 2 penalties, and a 15 point performance from Alex Ruocco ’13, who finished the match with a three-try hat trick.

The Panthers took an early lead and ended the first half up 41-0. The relentless offensive continued in the second half, allowing only one try from the University of Albany and tacking on another 50 points.

This win comes a week after Middlebury was ranked 16th nationally in Division I-AA, and a week after Middlebury shut out the University of Connecticut Huskies by a score of 49-0.

MCRC hosts American International College next Saturday, and host Boston College the following week Nov. 3, their last match of the season.

“I’m not worried about overconfidence,” coach Phillips said. “The boys know what needs to be done the rest of the season.”

The Middlebury Women’s Rugby Team (MCWRC) travelled to Williams to defeat the Ephs 39-0 on Saturday, Oct. 20. MCWRC dominated possession, and converted the advantaged into seven tries and two conversions, to improve their season record to 3-3.

Four first-half tries from Melanie Haas ’13 put MCWRC up 22-0 at the half. Hooker Rae Colombo ’13 and fullback Julianna Gardner ’14 added second-half tries, and Captain Jess Berry ’13 converted twice, to cement the score at 39-0.

Berry was happy with her team’s effort.

“We went into this game knowing it wouldn’t be as difficult as our last two, but I was happy with how strong we started regardless,” said Berry. “Williams has some big players, so we still needed to work really hard on the field in order to get that win.”

Haas’s offensive outburst, coupled with the patience and field control of the Middlebury backs, never allowed Williams into the game.

“Haas was crucial for the win. She’s an incredibly fast player, and having her out on the wing is really deadly,” said Berry. “Plus we had tries come from outside of our typical back-line players. Colombo had an awesome try in the second half, and then actually had a second that the referee deemed illegitimate. Overall we had great play all over the field, and we’re really using these final games of the season to prepare for playoffs in.”

Fly-half Julia Gulka ’13 and inside center Marissa Shaw ’14 controlled play from the backline and stymied any Williams attempts to break through the Middlebury defensive line. Ultimately, steady advancement and overwhelming possession proved the best defense for the MCWRC side.

The women travel to Lewiston, Maine to face Bates on Saturday for their final match of the regular season. The women are assured of one playoff game in early November. Teams advance with each win in the competition for the league title that lasts until the middle of the month.

GABE WEISSMAN contributed to this article.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.